Finding Peace Through Empathy and Compassion

I have made a commitment to practice beach yoga each Sunday morning.  The group meets quite early and literally “we have the sky as our studio ceiling” as our instructor, Trish Hart, describes it.  It has become a powerful weekly set point for me.

Recently during the morning meditation, I found myself feeling compelled to address the violence that seems ever present in our world.  Far too frequently the news and headlines extol yet another tragedy, both here in our country and abroad.  The word “terror” rings loud and true for innocent people all over the world today.  The roots of fear are very strong and can have enormous repercussions and impact.  The unpredictability of violence strikes deep, shaking our sense of safety and ability to move through daily living with confidence.  The 24/7 world of instant communication brings violence directly into our homes and lives.

I am suggesting that we can empower ourselves and our communities with the understanding that at the core, there are many commonalities in what we want:  safety, fairness, equality, the ability to live with loved ones without undo strife and turmoil.  The path to achieving that is a complicated one and will not be achieved easily or quickly.

The essence of empathy, of understanding and accepting differences, of compassion and caring for others are critical for us to hold, to teach to our children and to serve as role models.  Our children need to feel safe, to be shielded from inappropriate exposure to terror and violence.  To raise awareness of this issue the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  is launching an effort to address how “toxic stress” for children can affect brain development, physiological systems and mental health.

To read the full AAP “Policy Statement on Virtual Violence” visit:pediatrics.aappublications.org

May we all breathe deeply and consider carefully how we each might make a difference in engaging in a safe, compassionate, caring, and emphatic world.

 

Respectfully submitted, Barbara J. Green, Ph.D., Medical Director, Youth Health Connection of South Shore Hospital